Breaming with kings
  |  First Published: March 2003

The run of yellowfin bream and kingfish should be in full swing and if you have ventured out into Botany Bay you would have most probably seen boats anchored out in the middle of the bay, in the channel between Towra Point and Dolls Point, the end of the third and old runways, Molineaux Point, Bare Island, Watts reef and the oil wharf at Kurnell.

Any of these places will produce bream into April and May. By far the best baits are pink nippers, peeled blue-tailed or Hawkesbury prawns, striped tuna and mullet. And if there has been a fair bit of rain, the old chicken gut comes into its own.

Kingfish can also be caught at the above places but are also worth a try at any of the drums and markers. Drive up slowly and cast a lure, fly, soft plastic, strip or live bait at the edge of the marker or drum. If that doesn’t work, anchor up-current, lay out a berley trail and set out live baits.

In Port Hacking try any of the swing moorings in the many bays for kingfish. Make sure your lure or bait lands as close to the edge of the mooring or the boat for the best results. Other places are worth a try for kingfish would be the drop-offs on the sand bars at Lilli Pilli and Deer Park, South-West Arm, the entrance to North-West Arm, the back of Gymea Bay, Bundeena wharf, Jibbon Point and bombora, Osborne Shoals and the eastern side of Merries Reef. Use live squid, garfish, yellowtail or pilchards.

Rod Toohey and Chris Day fished in Great Turriel Bay and caught a cobia and two snapper in their berley trail using fresh strip baits and livies.

If you are after a few bream it would be worth anchoring at the Ballast Heap at night. Make sure that you have a berley trail of pilchards and chicken pellets going. Fish with a leader of one to two metres and use the baits listed above for Botany Bay. During the day when there is a very high tide you can venture up onto the flats at the back of the Ballast Heap and fish there for whiting, bream and flathead. Make sure that you don’t stay too long and become stranded as the tide goes out.

Places to try

Land-based: The Fig Tree bridge crosses the Lane Cove River just downstream from Cumminghams Reach. At the foot of this bridge you can gain access to the water. It’s a place you could bring the family for a few hours and flick a few soft plastics around.

There is plenty of parking in view of where you fish. Even though the water is fairly shallow in places, there are usually quite a few bream and flathead about.

Boat-based: Careel Bay is on the eastern side of Pittwater. Most of this bay is an 8-knot area. The main attraction is the surface fish around swing moorings. There are hundreds of them. Try casting Slug-Gos in close to the mooring, allowing it to sink for a few seconds – or start a fast retrieve across the surface. If you are after the odd bream you could cast an unweighted Culprit at the side of the boat and allow it to sink, then start a very slow, twitching retreive.

Ramp rage

In the metro daily press I read heading, ‘Ramp rage builds as hundreds queue to launch boats ‘ The story was on the shortage of launching ramps in Sydney Harbour and how it was testing the patience of boat owners, with scenes of frustration as boat users tried to launch or retrieve their craft.

The same could be said for all ramps in the Sydney basin and any boat owner who uses any of the Sydney ramps would have some type of gripe about the ramp that they use. It might be insufficient parking, no fish-cleaning or washdown facilities, nowhere to tie your boat up while getting the trailer, or even safety hazards due to the ramp’s state of disrepair.

Back in 1958, when I first ventured out in my Dad’s boat and in 1965 when I bought my first boat, I can’t remember such a thing as ramp rage. I remember one morning when Dad and I launched at the ramp that used to be upstream of Mick Moylan’s pub at Dolls Point. Another father-son team was having great trouble keeping the trailer straight reversing the trailer down the ramp. After the guy had a few unsuccessful attempts, Dad offered to guide him down.

Since that day a lot have things have changed: Ramps and access to some ramps have disappeared over night, more boats are on the water (an increase of 62% since 1992) and the conditions of some ramps have deteriorated so much that they are a hazard to the boats, trailers and the people using them.

In Sutherland Shire the very end of the ramp at The Esplanade in Sylvania Waters has fallen away so much that at the bottom of the tide, even with my small boat and trailer, I have to make sure that the wheels of the trailer don’t go over the edge. The ramp at the end of the groynes at Kurnell is constructed of pre-cast slabs fastened with chains and bolts. Even though the ramp is at a very flat angle the gaps between each of the slabs is now enough so a foot could easily go down between them. Not real good for the ankles.

Farther north, in Col Buckley territory, the private Careel Bay ramp has closed, making the ramp in the Bayview reserve the only concrete ramp in that whole system. Col has an extra half-hour’s drive before he launches. There are also rumours that the Pittwater wharves may be going as well. If this happens the residents that live on Scotland Island will not be happy as it would definitely restrict their access to their homes.

On a good note, I have been told by Waterways that the organisation will subsidise any boat ramp that a council is willing to put up for approval and the Boating Industry Association is lobbying for a launching ramp to be built off Bank Street at Blackwattle Bay.

I have also heard there could be some upgrading of ramps in the Homebush area. Maybe someone out there would be able to enlighten me and other anglers what is in the pipeline and what we could do to help us get more and better serviced boat ramps in Sydney.

What’s on

The classes on fishing Sydney waterways are on again on Monday nights. If anyone would like to come along email me at --e-mail address hidden-- phone me on 0422 994 207. I am also running an on-water and theory class at Hunts Marine with Scott Lyons from Southern Sydney Fishing Tours. The next theory night will be held March 3 and the practical days will be decided on that night.

I will be helping out on the NSWFM stand at the Fishing Show and Outdoors Expo at the Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour, from March 20 to 23. I’ll also give half-hour talks on fishing in Sydney on the AFN stand.


1 & 1a.

Rod Toohey was fishing with 3 kg line at the edge of deep water in Great Turriel Bay and managed to get his first ever Cobia on a live pilchard.


The man in the hat, Rod Toohey was again at it in Great Turriel Bay a couple of days later and caught a 47 cm snapper on a strip of fresh yellowtail. Once again on 3 kg line.


Hopefully if the Waterways, Councils, the Boating Association and boat owners can get together maybe days at boat ramps like this one at The Esplanade in Sylvania Waters will be a thing of the past.

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